We have been in Paris for four nights now,Â we arrived on the 20th May via train. That took all day – but least the trains are nice 🙂 Some of the connections have been first class – where they always give you free food and drinks, which is great ;)Â As we arrived quite late in the day, we settled into our hotel and had a quick look around. We are right in the naughty district! The Moulin Rouge is just down the road! The hotel itself is very old, it has an antique look and vibe to it. The elevator is so tiny, but mirrored with a wire frame door, so cute!
The next morning we decided to go for a walk, even though it had started raining lightly. It did not stay light though, so our first impressions of Paris will forever be associated with also being slightly damp! We walked along the main streetÂ Champs de Elysees, near Arch’de Triumph. We went to admire the monument, but not climb it because of the rain. People were still lining up though…don’t know what they expected there.Â The arch itself is quite big and stands out from a distance.
We strolled along in the rain, getting more sodden as we did. Umbrellas only do so much – epecially with only one between you! We stopped to peruse some of the touristy and boutique shops along the way – so many shoes! The Champs Elysees is supposed to be one of the most expensive and beautiful shopping streets in the world. It was very pretty, but the rain did not work in it’s favour 😉 Maybe we can duck back 😉
We continued our walk down into the gardens just before the Louvre – we stopped for a very average, but thankfully a mostly hot meal for lunch! The gardens are very manicured and green. A few flowers were about, with a few fountains along the way. We decided to move bravely on ahead and check out the Louvre…the line was a thing to behold! People were dedicated, standing in an epic queue stretching out for ages..and all in a steady light to medium drizzle! At this point, it was decided warm showers and a re-group was in order!
We caught the metro back to our hotel – which is so easy to use by the way! They run every few minutes, so you are never waiting long! We got back got dry and then relaxed in our room for a bit, and of course in this period of time the rain stopped! Still, Paris was pretty and still held promise. It was lovely even in the rain.
That evening, with a bit of research on Trip Advisor, we went to a local french restaurant for our six year relationship anniversary and one year wedding anniversary! Due to plans involving entries committed entirely to food, I won’t go on too much about the meal – but it was bloody great! Didn’t break the bank either. We had a glass of champagne each to start (I can actually write that, as it was French right ?) andÂ continued with a nice red. Props to Cheryl for teaching her son to start a celebration with some bubbles! (I always forget :P)
The next day….
We had a Parisian style breakfast of croissant and coffee and set off determined to be first class tourists, despite the rain. We went to check out the catacombs… and so did the rest of the tourist populace that day! We lined up for a fairly sad length of time. It was enough time to have lunch while waiting. A nice family of Perthian origin were right behind us, we chatted to them a bit. They are lucky to have a daughter living in Paris, they were visiting the grand kids.
The Catacombs of Paris, when we finally got down to them, are fascinating and incredibly eerie! They are final resting place of around six million people. This was again, one of those moments when you question your choices of things to do while on holiday. I am blaming Greg for this one though 😉 It’s hard to describe the experience of walking underground, surrounded by a long passage filled with the carefully arranged bones of the long deceased. One of the strangest things I have ever done.
After we emerged into the sunlight and re-grouped with a coffee, we checked out the outside of Saint-Chapelle, which is pretty on the outside and supposed to house a rather large collection of 13th century stained glass as well. The line was massive! We continued onto Notre Dame de Paris (Our lady of France)Â cathedral, which was big, ornate and pretty. It is your spot to go for the ‘classic french Gothic’ look in architecture. There are so many sculptures all over the outside.
In the downtime from the previous afternoon, I had managed to get on the hunt for the places to go shopping on a budget in Paris. In French, you are looking for friperie, which means second hand stores. It is starting to take off, as everyone tightens the purse strings and no one can afford the boutique fashion new! I found references to a few smaller brand name only type stores, but the average for a top or skirt was still at least 50 euros. It was second hand label/designer clothing, but still out of my holiday budget! I found a chain called “Freep’star!” and there are three stores all in one area, right near Notre Dame.Â We only found one, but it was good fun. Filled to the brim with all sorts. Greg and I both a new jacket each. He would like to tell you he is a rather dashing specimen in it 😉
More on Paris in a few hours, I am terribly behind and it makes for hard work catching up!